We recently talked about getting back on track after spending some time off plan. With summer right around the corner, it’s a good time to refresh ourselves on how to handle situations that get us out of our normal routine. Summer cookouts, holidays, and get-togethers require flexibility and Phase 3 of Always Hungry gives us this much needed flexibility.
What is Phase 3?
Phase 3 is the most misunderstood phase. It’s important to understand that this isn’t the time where you go back to your old ways of eating. Usually, people in Phase 3 find that even when they purposefully choose to allow a few of their old favorite foods into their life, those foods are no longer satisfying since their tastes have changed. There is enormous freedom in knowing that the sugary foods you used to crave can no longer tempt you.
For a more in depth discussion on each of the Phases, including Phase 3, please see this post. This post also includes a great refresher on Trigger Foods, which might help you navigate summer events.
3 Keys to a Successful Phase 3
Focus on Quality. Even though Phase 3 is about incorporating new ingredients into your lifestyle, always remember to continue focusing on quality so you avoid reverting to potentially unhealthy old habits. Consciously incorporate Phase 3 foods into your meals and give yourself time to learn how your body responds. Phase 3 is all about learning what your body can and cannot handle.
Revised foods can be a part of your life if you choose. In Phases 1 and 2, we tend to discourage people from trying to find revised versions of old favorite dishes. This is important for allowing your taste buds to change and develop. By Phase 3 though, you can start adding revised dishes into your life with a bit more freedom. See the section about revised foods in Always Delicious (pages 195 to 210). Also, remember that if you choose to eat the original versions of your old favorites without revisions, make sure it is a conscious choice and savor every bite.
Create an environment where high quality foods are the norm. Your everyday foods in Phase 3 should be all the foods that you love. For many people, this will include both new recipes and old revised favorites. Always listen to your body as you find what works for you. Live your new normal with pride!
Tips to Make Phase 3 Work For You
Phase 3 doesn’t have to be an everyday thing. Many people find a set of ratios and recipes that work best for them and live comfortably within that range, occasionally including Phase 3 meals as their body tolerates. Even if you’ve decided you’d like to remain in Phases 1 or 2, you can say: “For this meal, I’m Phase 3.” (Or “For this day, week, or social event, I’m Phase 3”).
Don’t go Phase 3 all at once. For most people, it’s best to give your body a slow transition between the Phases. You might try a Phase 3 meal and find that it leaves you bloated or unsatisfied. Don’t beat yourself up! Just take everything as a learning experience. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” It might be that you can eat Phase 3 foods once per week, but not everyday. You might even decide you feel best only eating Phase 3 foods once per month. That’s fine too! Learn to live within your limitations and always leave guilt, shame, and blame at the door. The words we use matter so it’s important not to tell yourself to “never eat that food again.” Instead, say, “I feel better when I eat that food once or twice a month rather than all the time.” Shift your focus from what you are “allowed” to eat to what you should eat occasionally.
Practice revising old favorites over time. There’s no need to rush into Phase 3 and try to change every old sugary meal into an AH compatible meal. At the times when you’d like to experiment though, revising an old favorite can be as simple as using a high protein pasta with bean flours or egg whites instead of a white flour variety. Try a keto tortilla instead of a flour tortilla. Instead of a sugary blueberry muffin from the bakery, why not try our Apple Cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice muffins. You can experiment with adding blueberries to the recipes. When you’re in search of a cookie, try our Almond Coconut Macaroons with chocolate chips. Add maple syrup to our favorite waffle recipe. Use frozen grapes or other fruits in place of popsicles. The possibilities are endless.
Go back and read sections from our books that best impacted your daily food habits. For example, Chef Dawn’s Tasty Tip on Kitchen Rules is important no matter what Phase you’re in! (Always Delicious page 42). It might also help to read our section on Food Substitutes (Always Delicious pages 39 to 40).
Celebrate small victories. You might realize that by Phase 3, even though you are more confident that sugar cravings will not get the best of you, you no longer feel the need to linger in the cookie aisle or stop at the bakery everyday on your way home from work. You now have the drive not to go back to your old habits! Being able to fully enjoy a small baked good every once in a while without devolving into a cycle of binging and craving is a huge success! Celebrate it! Every time you pass the dessert table at barbecues without a twinge of old cravings, be sure to celebrate.
Summer Salads for Phase 3
Our classic summer salad is the Soba Noodle Salad. Although this is a perfect Phase 3 recipe that is a complete meal within itself, the recipe also includes Phase 1 and 2 variations. It’s perfect for barbecues, potlucks, or other summer social events where you might be worried about what you can eat. Just bring this dish along and know that not only will you avoid old temptations, everyone who tries it will also want to know where it came from! It’s that popular!
Our new favorite summer salad is a Beet Salad with Feta and Walnuts. This salad can liven up any barbecue but will also be right at home at a more formal dinner party. Even if you have a few people at your table who are skeptical about beets, give this salad a try and you might be surprised. The flavor of the beets is delicate and blends nicely with the more familiar flavors of feta, walnuts, and pomegranate. It’s the perfect bite for warm summer nights.